MEMOIR OF AN ART GALLERY by Julien Levy

MEMOIR OF AN ART GALLERY

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Marcel Duchamp recognized young Julien Levy, just out of Harvard, as a fellow-fantasist and potential collaborator; man-about-Paris Bob McAlmon swept him into the company of Hemingway, Pound, Cocteau, Gide; he married a daughter of the legendary Mina Loy (with Brancusi as a witness); and four years later, in 1931, organized the first Surrealist exhibition in America. At the opening of his gallery he showed American photographs, then Nader and Atget (whose work he, along with Berenice Abbott, saved for posterity); later he screened the experimental films of Duchamp, Dali, and others, and helped found a subscription film society to disseminate them (a project aborted, he complains, by the Museum of Modern Art). He was the first to display Calder's mobiles (after nudging him from mechanical movement to free motion) and to encourage Joseph Cornell (whom he steered from Ernst-type collages to shadow boxes). He represented Dali and Ernst for years, championed the Neo-romantics (Berman, Tchelitchew, Berard), and guided Arshile Gorky--""the 'eye-spring' of Abstract Expressionism""--to belated self-discovery. But for all the fame of his gallery, success and recognition seem to have passed him by, and now--retired for nearly 30 years--he'd like credit for his achievements. Levy's bitterness does not dim his prowess as a raconteur, however, or his intuitive grasp of Surrealism: ""What variety, if each of us released his personal wit!"" In his memoirs, under the lackluster title, Surrealism lives.

Pub Date: Jan. 19th, 1976
Publisher: Putnam